Have you ever wandered aimlessly somewhere just because you could?
Today I decided to do that.
It was pouring down with rain and I wanted to ‘test-drive’ this umbrella that I recently purchased. I feel like a child sitting in a pushchair with one of those rain covers over it. Weird I know. But I really adore this new umbrella. It’s see-through so I can still see out, but I feel protected from the cold rain droplets that slip over its plastic surface.
So there I was just happily walking as the rain poured down.
Then I stopped and noticed the reflection of my umbrella in the puddle.
How often do I pause to reflect when my life seems clouded over?
Drip, drip, drop…
Imagine the rain drops are the tough bits in our life. Maybe it’s illness. Redundancy. Lack of money. A broken friendship. The death of a loved one. A difficult colleague. Depression. Lack of sleep. School or college. Peer pressure. Something else entirely that just seems to be this massive cloud of uncompromising weather that lurks around.
First we notice a couple of drops. Then a few more. One difficult thing followed by another difficult thing.
When the rain drops start to spit, how often do we face it without a waterproof jacket, umbrella or suitable footwear?
I have been caught out by the British weather so many times. My new umbrella is the first attempt at me trying to embrace the unpredictability of the weather!
However, in our own lives, how often do we get caught up in the downpour of despair and frustration because we didn’t come prepared to face the storm?
Facing the storms of life
I’m not an expert in the storms of life by any means, although I have faced a fair few in my 25 years (I know, I have a lot to learn!). Nor do I propose that there is a model to approach the storms of life either – there’s not.
There may not be a model to follow, but there is a God who says “Follow me.”
From my own experience of walking with the Lord through those stormy days, I am learning that there are measures in place to equip, shelter and strengthen me when the rain hammers down.
- I have access to God who is my refuge and strength always, even in the biggest storms of this life. I am never alone. I can pray and read God’s living Word – he speaks to me through the bible and it has completely changed the direction of how I face the rainy days in my life.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3
- Even though I don’t understand why the rain persists for such a long time in my life and the lives of others, I know that I can trust God to deliver me through the storm. Notice I say, through the storm and not deliver me from the storm. I have learned so much about God, myself and others when going through the stormy seasons of life – it opens us up to go deeper and addresses even greater needs than we thought that we had. It gets to the very heart of who we are. It gets us thinking and seeking for something or someone greater than ourselves. That something/someone that we seek is God.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
- I do not need to fear when the storm hits. That’s easier said than done. What might be a gust of wind to one person may be like a hurricane to someone else. Can we stay calm when we are facing the biggest storm of our life yet? One of the things that I love about reading the bible is that it is filled to the brim with people who were afraid, who did make a mess of things and who were as honest as someone can be toward God. They seem to have pretty normal reactions to some of the trials that they were facing. Yet God says not to fear. How can we respond to this?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1